SRI LANKA: Senior army officer arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and detained without trial 

Mr. R.D Wickramasinghe (51) was an army captain until 2003 and afterwards taught at Gurudeniya Maha Vidiyalaya. He taught Political science and Economics, in addition to being a Cadet Officer in the school, as he graduated from the Peradeniya University. He is married and has three children; two sons and a daughter, aged nineteen, sixteen, and twelve. His wife, Chandrika Jayaratne, is also a teacher at the Ambatenna primary school.

On the 26th of June, 2006, Wickramasinghe was asked to come to Dambulla to meet one of his friends by the name of Fernando. As he arrived in Dambulla he was pushed in to a van. Later, he learned that Fernando, his friend, was already arrested and it had been a trap, set to get him down to Dambulla. His assailants had called him through his friend, Fernando. Once he was abducted in Dambulla, he was pushed into a white van and taken to the basement of an old building where he was kept for two days, blindfolded with his hands tied, before being moved again. Altogether, it would be eleven days before he was handed over to the CID. While being there he was forced to translate a Tamil letter and write it in Sinhala. The letter, according to him, was about five policemen. Wickramasinghe felt that it was done to file fabricated charges against him. Further, he was asked to sign documents threatening to rape his wife and daughter.

Since he went missing, his family members desperately searched for him and after 11 days they were informed, by Wickramasinghe himself, that he was being detained at the CID office in Colombo. When his brother, Sumanaweera, visited the CID, he was told that Wickramasinghe was detained there. In the meantime, Chandrika, Wickramasinghe’s wife, was called to the fourth floor of the CID twice, questioned, and had her statements taken down. She was asked whether they provided shelter to any terror suspects of the LTTE.  A few days later, Chandrika went to the CID office in Colombo in search of her husband. She was allowed to see him, but were not allowed to speak in private.

However, Wickramainghe later told her that he was kept blindfolded after his abduction by an unknown group, suspected to be a paramilitary group, but he did not know where he was held. He was detained without proper food and was severely tortured. The group that abducted him threatened to kill him and almost shot him. In fact, he even asked them to kill him because he could not bear the pain that he was undergoing. The paramilitary group, after about twelve days, handed him over to the CID.

He was then detained for three months at the CID office and during that time he was forced sign several documents which he was not allowed to read.

He was finally brought before the Colombo magistrate and detained at the Colombo Remand Prison at Welikada. He was made to appear in the Colombo magistrate court every fourteen days. Wickramasinghe was then transferred to Bogambara in December, 2010. He is now set to appear in the Kandy High Court, but has yet to be given a trial.

The Media had reported that Wickramasinghe was helping the Terrorists and therefore the JVP local politicians have broken into his house.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has condemned the prolonged detention, without trial, and called upon the government of Sri Lanka, either to file charges in a court of law immediately or release him.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-212-2011
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Torture,